Afghans launch 'Ban Taliban' campaign on Twitter

World Saturday 23/July/2022 08:19 AM
Afghans launch 'Ban Taliban' campaign on Twitter

Kabul: After Meta's crackdown on Taliban-affiliated content and pages, Afghans have launched a trend on the social media platform Twitter with a hashtag calling for a ban on Taliban.

The hashtag "BanTaliban" became a global sensation, with over thousands of tweets so far in support. Rapidly on the rise, the trend has gained significant coverage in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Europe and India, as well as the United States of America.

According to Afghan Peace Watch, among the advocates are Afghan journalists and civil activists urging Twitter to deny access to all Taliban members on Twitter, owing to the group's spreading of misinformation and engaging in harmful content, including calls for violence and beheading, as well as support for terrorists.

This comes as Meta, formerly known as Facebook, banned Taliban-related content and pages on various platforms, including the RTA TV channel and Bakhtar News Agency, on Wednesday. The decision of banning Taliban- related content has been highly welcomed by the Afghan public, leading to the Twitter campaign.

Last year in August, as the Taliban came to power, many social media companies revisited their policies on pro-Taliban accounts. However, Twitter decided to allow Taliban-affiliated accounts to continue using its platform despite its policies against the glorification of violence and threats.

This Twitter trend comes as the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Wednesday released a report outlining the human rights situation in Afghanistan over the 10 months since the Taliban takeover.

The report summarises UNAMA's findings with regards to the protection of civilians, extrajudicial killings, torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary arrests and detentions, the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan, fundamental freedoms and the situation in places of detention. The report also contains recommendations to both the de facto authorities and the international community.

Despite an overall, significant reduction in armed violence, between mid-August 2021 and mid-June 2022, UNAMA recorded 2106 civilian casualties (700 killed, 1406 wounded). The majority of civilian casualties were attributed to targeted attacks by the armed group self-identified "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant - Khorasan Province" against ethnic and religious minority communities in places where they go to school, worship and go about their daily lives.

"It is beyond time for all Afghans to be able to live in peace and rebuild their lives after 20 years of armed conflict. Our monitoring reveals that despite the improved security situation since 15 August, the people of Afghanistan, in particular women and girls, are deprived of the full enjoyment of their human rights," said Markus Potzel, Acting Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan.

While the de facto authorities have taken some steps seemingly aimed at the protection and promotion of human rights, such as the amnesty for former government officials and security force members, the 3 December decree on women's rights and a code of conduct relating to prisoners, they also bear responsibility for a broad range of human rights violations. The erosion of women's rights has been one of the most notable aspects of the de facto administration to date.

Since 15 August, women and girls have progressively had their rights to fully participate in education, the workplace and other aspects of public and daily life restricted and in many cases completely taken away.

The decision not to allow girls to return to secondary school means that a generation of girls will not complete their full 12 years of basic education. At the same time, access to justice for victims of gender-based violence has been limited by the dissolution of dedicated reporting pathways, justice mechanisms and shelters.